Power Perfected in Weakness (After William Cowper’s “Light Shining Out of Darkness”)

Perhaps the most influential poem that William Cowper wrote was this hymn, “Light Shining Out of Darkness”, which contributed the phrase “God moves in a mysterious way” to the English language. The poem has a very simple, consistent rhythm and rhyme to it not found commonly in poetry today, but it also contains some of the most magnificent and comforting imagery of God’s power found outside of the Bible. My interpretation of Cowper’s poem was inspired by a recent post on A Devoted Life based on 2 Corinthians 12:9, one of my favourite verses in the Bible.
 
Power Perfected in Weakness
(After William Cowper’s “Light Shining Out of Darkness”)
 
God shakes the footprints of the sea,
            The oceans of the clouds;
Darkness trembles, hailstones flee
            At his resounding sound.
 
He carves crevasses into earth
            And tree-trunks slowly bleed;
He weaves the seasons to new birth
            First with a dying seed.
 
A spear has pierced through his own soul,
            A crown of thorns his brow;
He breaks apart to make the whole
            And he shall show me how.
 
And so he plants thorns in my side
            To teach sufficient grace
And rips away the shame of pride
            To shine his radiant face.
 
Deep darkness is his canopy
            Yet he is thick with light;
He spreads the vast, dense galaxy
            That he might shine more bright.

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